Van Vleuten wins women's Tour stage

FRANCE - Annemiek van Vleuten made up for her Olympic heartbreak by winning the first stage of the women's Tour de France on Thursday. The Dutchwoman was leading the Olympic Games road race in Rio last year and 12km from the gold medal when she crashed spectacularly on a perilous descent, suffering fractured vertebrae and severe concussion as her Dutch compatriot Anna van der Breggen went on to take the title. But the renowned climber broke clear on the Col d'Izoard climb at the end of the 67.5km opening stage of two in La Course by Tour de France to take victory by 43 seconds from Briton Lizzie Deignan, with Italian Elisa Longo Borghini, the bronze medallist in Rio, third at 1min 23sec. The men's 18th stage of the Tour de France will also finish on the Col d'Izoard later on Thursday.–AFP

PSG need a Neymar, says coach

NEW YORK - Paris Saint Germain (PSG) need to sign a player of the calibre of Neymar or Kylian Mbappe in their quest to win the Champions League, according to their coach Unai Emery. In an interview published in French sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday, Paris Saint Germain coach Emery named Neymar as a world top five player, just the class Paris Saint Germain needed to become a top European power. He was speaking amid reports in Brazil and Spain that PSG were on the way to clinching a sensational deal to prise Neymar away from Barcelona. "If we want to rival Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid and win the Champions League, we need to buy one of the top five players in the world today," Emery said after watching his side edge Roma on penalties in a friendly in the United States.–AFP

Real's Danilo set for Man City move

LONDON - Manchester City are close to signing Real Madrid full-back Danilo, according to widespread media reports on Thursday. Pep Guardiola made full-backs his top transfer priority in the close season having released Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna, and Brazilian international Danilo is on the verge of joining Kyle Walker as City's latest recruit in that position. The deal for the 26-year-old is expected to cost the Premier League side around £26 million, and with Walker signed in a transfer which could rise to £54 million, that would take City's spending on full-backs alone past the £80 million mark. Danilo, who joined European champions Real in 2015 from Porto, started just 17 Spanish league games last season with Dani Carvajal often preferred in the right-back role.–AFP

Pakistan crash out of World Jr Squash

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s journey in WSF World Junior Squash Championships 2017 short-lived as last hope Abbas Zeb was beaten 2-3 by Colombian Matias Knudsen in the third round match played in Tauranga, New Zealand on Thursday. It was till date the worst ever performance shown by the Pakistani youngsters, as previously the players had at least reached the quarterfinals and also played semifinals, but despite making huge claims regarding providing state-of-the-art coaching under world’s super coach Faheem Gull, PSF failed to produce satisfactory results. Abbas won the first game 12-10 after surviving some anxious moments, but lost the second game 9-11 and third 6-11. He bounced back to take the fourth game 11-6 but he lost the fifth and deciding game 9-11, thus lost the match in 54 minutes.–Staff Reporter

 

LAHORE: Pakistan Modern Pentathlon Federation (PMPF) president Riaz Fatyana, secretary Zahoor Ahmad and other officials in a group photo with medal winning Pakistani players, who finished third in the Asian Championship held recently in Kazakhstan. PMPF honoured the players in a reception held at National Hockey Stadium.